The Miami Dolphins were edged 17-16 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 of the preseason. Despite two first half turnovers, both on fumbled punts, the Dolphins took a 13-10 lead into halftime due to a quality performance from the starting offense and stellar play from the starting defense once again. However, the inability of players, who will likely be cut, to secure the victory ultimately cost Miami the game.
Like all preseason games, the result doesn't matter. Instead we'll take a look at which players saw their stock rise and which saw their stock fall in Saturday night's loss:
Ryan Tannehill, QB
Tannehill's trend of improving with each preseason game continued against Tampa Bay. After losing his safety valve in tight end Dustin Keller a week ago, Tannehill spread the ball around nicely and finished 17-for-27 passing for 150 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions. His completion percentage would be even higher if it weren't for numerous drops by his wide receiving core, including dropped passes in the end zone by Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline. His poise and improved decision making was on display again, as evident in the fact that he has yet to throw an interception this preseason. Following another impressive performance, the Dolphins second year quarterback appears ready for the regular season.
Charles Clay, TE
In his first game as the Dolphins starting tight end, Clay did not make a good impression. Tannehill targeted him six times but he only made one reception for five yards. He also had a few careless drops, including one over the middle where his momentum could have carried him into the endzone for a touchdown had he made the catch. His route running was far from sharp, making him an easy cover for the Bucs secondary. Dion Sims looks like the best tight end currently on the roster but I expect the Dolphins to explore other options at the position.
Brandon Gibson, WR
With Keller out, Gibson will be counted on to replace some of his production. Out of the slot, Gibson led the Dolphins in receiving yards with 43 on five receptions, Despite two drops, one in the endzone, he is becoming a go-to target for Tannehill with their chemistry on display throughout the preseason and in practice. Gibson did however make up for his drops with a touchdown catch late in the first half to give the Dolphins the lead. He is in line to see a lot of targets this season and could emerge as an impact player for this team.
Jonas Gray, RB
After impressing in the first three preseason games, Gray took a major step back on Saturday and it could cost him his roster spot as the team is only expected to keep one running back between Gray and Mike Gillislee. With the exception of a 10 yard run, Gray rushed for 2 yards on seven carries. As poor as his stat line was, his performance will be judged by his fumble late in the fourth quarter that allowed the Bucs to score the game winning touchdown. Although Gillislee hasn't made a major impact yet, his high draft selection, potential and pass catching ability gives him the edge on making the 53 man roster over Gray.
Brian Tyms, WR
Out of the wide receivers that are competing for a roster spot, it was Tyms who stepped up Saturday. Although his stat line isn't flashy – 3 receptions for 27 yards – he outplayed the likes of Rishard Matthews, Marvin McNutt and Chad Bumphis. Like most of the depth receivers on this roster, Tyms struggles to gain yards after the catch, however his size and passing catching consistency make the 24 year old a potential asset for the Dolphins. Miami's front office will have a difficult decision in choosing which, if any, of these receivers should make the roster but Tyms has made his case. Matthews will likely be the team's 4th WR but the battle for 5th is still up for grabs.
Pat Devlin, QB
Devlin had the chance to prove to the Dolphins that they should keep three quarterbacks on the roster but he did not take advantage of it. He played the entire second half, finishing 12-for-21 passing for 114 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. While Devlin was at the helm, the Dolphins only mustered three points and the offense looked out of sync. With depth needed at other positions, it looks like Pat Devlin's days as a Dolphin are numbered.